October 10, 2018

Mental health: Making the difference

Archery GB, UK Sport, and Dame Katherine Grainger came together to talk about mental health awareness and help raise awareness that it is ok to not be ok.

Archery GB welcomed Dame Katherine Grainger to Lilleshall on Monday afternoon to try her hand at archery, along with discussing mental health awareness and the journey we are taking toward Tokyo 2020. Mental Health awareness is a topic that unfortunately some people still think is taboo and cannot be discussed within social places. We don't, and we're thrilled to be working with UK Sport, supporting their mental health strategy. Tackling the stigma behind mental health and working together to promote positive mental health in grassroots and elite level sport is a something we are passionate about.


According to Mind, one in four people experience a mental health problem every year, one in six people report having a common mental health problem in a week. Archery, as a sport offers a place to socialise, compete, volunteer, create friendships, become a judge and have positive outcomes for yourself and your club.


It's not just elite level athletes who experience mental health problems, grassroots archers do too. Here are two different stories from Karen Bryan and Grant Piland who got in touch to talk to us about their experiences.


Karen Bryan

After many years of struggling with depression and low self-esteem, I had a nervous breakdown in 2014. It took a year to recognise what had happened, by which time I had come off the anti-depressants.

As part of my treatment, I used Cognitive Behavioural Therapy techniques and mindfulness. Recognising the need for me to rediscover myself, and return to some of the activities I had loved doing when I was younger - archery was one of those things.

In 2016 I took the plunge and contacted my local club. I was surprised how much I could still remember - and how much I had missed shooting.

I have progressed with my shooting and working with a coach I have found that the sport is helping me to develop a much more positive mental outlook.

I have made some fantastic friends both at my club and in the wider archery world.

My progress in the sport has brought out my competitive side and I represented my county for the first time this year.

Now my club's Tournaments Officer, I received the Chairman's Cup in recognition of all I had done for the club in encouraging members to shoot rounds, gain handicaps and classifications, and take part in more competitions.


Grant Piland

I am a carer for my wife and have been since 2008. After two very upsetting incidents the health issues my wife already had developed into more serious conditions both physical and mentally.

Before this I was a very active ex-rugby player and outdoorsman. I then had to concentrate on my wife's health issues.

In 2015 at the Archery Big Weekend, hosted by Trent Valley Archers, I got hooked and then joined the club.

To say archery has had a positive effect on me is an understatement. My physical health has improved greatly and my mental health has had a big boost. Archery is a non-judgmental sport where people of all abilities come together and are not labelled by ignorance.

As a carer you can feel isolated and you have to put the person you care for above your own health and wellbeing and make sacrifices so that those that are being cared for have a comfortable life.

At present I volunteer at a wellbeing and recovery college, allowing me to put something back into society and hopefully help others along the way.


Edge Hill University, DOCIAsport and the Sport and Recreation Alliance have launched the UK's first nationwide survey into the mental health of people working or volunteering in sport. If that's you, please complete and share this survey:

Edge Hill Mental Health Awareness Survey

You can find case studies here.

For support or advice on how being active is important for our mental health visit www.mind.org.uk/sport

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